Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good governance and justice for the common man

The present government’s commitment to ‘maximum governance with minimum government’ is well known. This has also been adequately reflected in the ten-point road map set out immediately after the new government was sworn in. It encompassed matters relating to economy; infrastructure; people oriented systems; education, health and water. Included also were transparency in government, building of confidence in bureaucracy, innovative ideas for governance, resolution of inter-ministerial issues, stability in government policies and time bound implementation of policies.

However, while the confidence building in bureaucracy has made the list, an important point missing is the building of confidence in judiciary, which is also deeply linked to the justice for the common man.

So, there is need for a debate about accelerating the measures for restoring the confidence in the judiciary which, from the advent of civilization has been of utmost importance as a part of good governance.  

To elaborate it further, it would be pertinent to have a look at the meaning of governance.  It simply means “the action or manner of governing a state, organization ...” and that would obviously include conducting of public affairs in a manner that would render good justice to the subjects of a state.

It is notable that Naïf Al-Rodham, in his 2009 book Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: a Philosophy of History and Civilisation Triumph, had included participation, equity, and inclusiveness as well as the rule of law in the eight minimum criteria for ensuring good national governance.

In this connection, the following quotes from our scriptures, Manu Smriti and Kautilya’s Arthashastra are also relevant:

Manu Smriti:

 Chapter VIII, Para 12: “But where justice, wounded by injustice, approaches and the judges do not extract the dart, there (they also) are wounded (by that dart of injustice).”
Chapter VIII, Para 15: “Justice, being violated, destroys; justice, being preserved, preserves: therefore justice must not be violated, lest violated justice destroy us.”

Kautilya’s Arthashastra

Book III, Chapter I:  Concerning Law: "As the duty of a king (and the administrators of justice) consists in protecting his subjects with justice, its observance leads him to heaven.”.

Unfortunately, however, the present Indian legal system, a legacy of the British, is inadequate and needs a lot of fresh thinking and corrective actions by the government. 

One problem which the government has to address is the acute suffering which the common man seeking justice in India faces due to inordinate delays, high costs and limited reach to the judicial forums. This is aggravated by the fact that there is long pendency of cases in the courts. The figures are stunning.  Pending cases in Supreme Court are around 65,970 (as on 1.7.2014); in High Courts around 4.5 million and in district courts over 26 million in 2013.  This massive grid-locking at the judiciary needs to be undone by immediate filling of vacancies, appointment of new judges and adoption of new technologies.

 Another is the restoration of trust in the judiciary, which has been declining of late.  This can be achieved by ensuring the transparency in the judicial appointments, independence of judiciary, and institutional checks and balances. Whether the collegium system, which works in a the exclusive domain of judiciary in a closed environment,  and where one set of judges take decisions about judicial appointments,  should be replaced by other systems with a broader  decision making platform  is a matter that has to be decided by the government expeditiously.  Same is the case about strengthening judiciary as an independent institution free from bureaucratic interference. Otherwise, the democratic fabric of our democracy would continue to be damaged.

There is  another important perspective to these problems, which the new government cannot overlook. By virtue of its constitution, India is a welfare state and as per the directive principles of state policy laid down in Part IV, the State has to promote the welfare of people by securing and procuring effectively a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life (italics mine).

It is imperative that  the  government, judiciary and the entire legal fraternity  rise to the aspirations of the common man and generate a judicial environment where mass public would be always comforted by a feeling that there is a fair and unbiased institution to provide speedy justice to him.

The author Ratan  Kaul can be contacted at: email@ratankaul.in

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM FOR WINGS OF FREEDOM--A HISTORICAL ROMANCE SET IN INDIA

WINGS OF FREEDOM has received excellent reviews from reviewers across the globe-USA,  UK,  AUSTRALIA, SCANDINAVIA and INDIA


Depicting a cross- cultural romance in the backdrop of  intense political and social conflicts in turbulent colonial India with the tapestry of of coronation celebration of King George V in India amidst speculations of sabotage, freedom revolution swirling furiously in the country and the ravages of World war I




Blurbs posted by amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0063C0VT4):

"The story flows with the ease of cleverly descriptive language. " Juanita Kees  |  6 reviewers made a similar statement
"Mr. Kaul should be commmended for writing a fascinating book about the British Raj in pre-independence India. " Ron  |  3 reviewers made a similar statement
"Any readers of historical romance will really love this novel. " A Book Vacation  |  1 reviewer made a similar statement

Thanks to all for  an overwhelming response to the book.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

PRAISE FOR WINGS OF FREEDOM--A COLONIAL INDIA ROMANCE





I'm glad to share  the latest 5 star review posted today on amazon:

Love Prevails, May 5, 2012

By 

This review is from: Wings Of Freedom (Kindle Edition)
If you like a good love story with a historical setting this is a great book to read. Raj, an Indian college boy and Eileen, the artistic daughter of a British diplomat meet and fall in love during a tenuous political time in India. The stirrings of India's struggle for freedom are taking shape and things are beginning to get dangerous. There's a huge fire in the British camp and an assasination attempt on King George during his coronation ceremony. Raj and Eileen are caught up in the fervor of revolution and must also face the cultural differences between their families. (The British frown upon their daughters marrying Indian men) In spite of the difficulties, Raj and Eileen prevail. What I loved most was the glimpse I got into Indian culture through Raj's family and the overall picture of England's rule and occupation of India at that time. Raj's interactions with his mother and father, uncle, his friends, etc. are well portrayed as is Eileen's side - her privileged life as the daughter of a high ranking British officer. A lot of research went into the details of the history here and the love story that endured in spite of so much against trhem was truly heart-warming. Love really does conquer all, especially in the Wings of Freedom.


http://www.ratankaul.in

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WINGS OF FREEDOM--A BRITISH RAJ ROMANCE NOVEL

AUTHOR RATAN KAUL'S INTERVIEW

I’m glad to share the great news of my interview of April 4 on http://teazurs.blogspot.in/2012/04/interview-with-ratan-kaul-author-of.html

An excerpt from the interviewer Angie Azur’s comments:

“This story is one that needed to be told. Not only does it peak my interest, but I will learn about a culture that I know little about. And what an easy and unexpected way to learn about another culture, through a love story.
Thank you Ratan for your dedication, and all of your research that went into this book.”

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. How much research did you do for this book? And what was the most interesting thing you came across?

Ah! It took me over two years of research. It was accomplished in two phases: At the concept stage-in government archives, libraries, historical museums and over the internet.


After I'd worked out the plot, characters and locales, I supplemented the research by visiting the heritage sites of British India and the exact places where the characters were imagined to have lived. That's how I was able to add the flavour of the period into my novel.

During the research I found several interesting things. One related to a news report in the December 16, 1911 edition of The New York Times with the headline--LONDON HEARD THAT
GEORGE V. WAS SLAIN. However, it turned out to be a false alarm.

I also came across various technological improvements that took place during the period of novel. You‚ll find the timeline of some such developments viz. Kerosene fed street lamps giving way to electric lamps and horse carriages being replaced by trams in the first decade of twentieth century. In fact the novel is dotted all along with references to such innovations.

Q. Why did this novel have to be written?

I'm glad you asked this question. As you know, most of the novels on British India like A passage to India by E.M. Forster, The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott or The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye, were written by western authors. Obviously, they represented a certain point of view.


I was longing to write a novel on British raj with an Indian perspective, adding to it the authentic flavour
of emotions, culture, language and traditions as were prevalent a hundred years ago in British India.

Q. Do you see this novel being a tool used in colleges?

A similar question came up in various forums of social networking websites, and there has been a general consensus that historical novels have immense educational value as they not only encourage critical thinking about events of the past in contrast with a plain reading of history, but also enrich the students‚ mind about other social science subjects like anthropology, archaeology, political science and
sociology.

I take the liberty of giving an excerpt from a pre-publishing review on authonomy.com that will support this view:

"Wings of Freedom is a compelling historical account. I like your extensive footnotes which help guide the reader and make this work so educational. I didn‚t know much about the history of India prior to reading this book. You succeed in taking the reader back in time and you describe the setting so vividly that it makes it easy to imagine the events which unfold."


Friday, March 30, 2012

Indie Book Review: Wings of Freedom by Ratan Kaul

Indie Book Review: Wings of Freedom by Ratan Kaul: A cross-cultural romance set during the fury of British imperialism and the social-cultural divide in early twentieth-century turbulent Bri...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

AN ODE TO SPRING

At dawn when I open my doors, windows
I am greeted by my regular companions
Flocks of tiny, playful and lively sparrows
with spirited mynas, bulbuls, and pigeons,

Who come gliding from their night shelters

in the Kachnar, Champa, Harsingar, Neem
And Gulmohar trees, shrubs and creepers
adjoining and touching balcony of my room

They come looking for their daily feeds
with friendly tapping on my window sills
For jowar, bajra, corn and other seeds
even rice, wheat puffs, nuts and biscuits

Squirrels watchfully spy the bird rations
and it is a sight to see how they pick the nut
Clasp and gnaw on it with swift actions
hiding in the small openings in the parapet

Bird experts say sparrows are getting extinct
and no longer dwell in concrete jungles
But I am blessed with the idyllic mornings
with my little friends providing jingles

The sweet sound of sparrows chirping
their calls of mobbing, duets and mating
Make my idyllic and cheerful morning
as my mind is enchanted in their playing

But it is now time to bid adieu to my lovable pals
For getting prepared for my share of earthly tasks
And face the day’s targets, meetings and mobile calls
With the polluted air, din of horns and traffic jams

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